April 22, 2005
(Health and Community Services)

Satellite dialysis capacity expands to Carbonear

Residents of Carbonear and the surrounding area have access to a new satellite dialysis service. Acting Health and Community Services Minister Loyola Sullivan today joined Charlene Johnson, MHA Trinity Bay de Verde, key health region officials, representatives of the Trinity Conception Placentia Health Foundation and community supporters at the official opening in Carbonear General Hospital.

"Expanding renal dialysis services affirms our governmentís commitment to improve access to vital, quality health care services throughout the province. Wherever possible and practical, we want to provide these types of health services closer to home for people so they donít have to travel as far and can have a better quality of life," said Minister Sullivan.

Satellite dialysis centres are out-patient clinics where dialysis treatment is provided for medically stable patients under the remote medical supervision of kidney specialists, known as nephrologists. Budget 2005 allocated $566,700 to establish a satellite service of six renal dialysis stations to begin operation six days per week. The unit will accommodate a maximum of 32 patients with existing equipment.

Local MHA Charlene Johnson thanked the community for their hard work and said it is a great day for the entire region. "The opening of the satellite dialysis site is something we all celebrate together. This project has become a reality as a result of a spirited community and a successful partnership with government, the health authority and the health care foundation," said Ms. Johnson.

In March 2004, government announced it would proceed with new satellite hemodialysis units in Gander and Carbonear, consistent with the recommendations of the Provincial Renal Advisory Committee Report. According to provincial dialysis experts, medical criteria for a safe, quality satellite dialysis service include a volume of 10-12 medically stable patients and the availability of medical specialists.

There are currently three dialysis satellites in the province, including Stephenville, Clarenville and Gander, which complement full-service dialysis units in St. Johnís, Grand Falls-Windsor and Corner Brook. The satellite units have effectively managed the growth in numbers of dialysis patients across the province.

Hemodialysis removes waste from the blood by pumping blood through an artificial kidney. This prevents a build-up of toxins that can be debilitating and ultimately fatal. There are 366 patients receiving hemodialysis in hospital and 44 using home dialysis, for about 410 dialysis patients receiving care in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Media contact: Carolyn Chaplin, Communications, (709) 729-1377, 682-5093

2005 04 22                                             10:25 a.m.

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